Oral intervention during the UN CSW General Discussion

March 15, 2023

On March 15, during the UNCSW67 General Discussion the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organisations addressed the plenum in a video statement delivered by Dr Kateryna Bondar, WFUWO Main Representative to UNOG.

The World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations is grateful for the opportunity to address the 67th session of the CSW.

The international legal framework of rights and protections for women and girls is critical for Ukraine at this time of invasion and genocide perpetrated by the Russian Federation.  The global community has recognized the Russian invasion as a violation of international law and fundamental human rights of Ukrainians.   It is also a violation of the people’s right to development.  The UN community holds these rights to be “universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, and are crucial for the full and equal participation of women and girls in society.”

The Russian aggression has compromised the right to life, physical and mental health and safety of millions of women and girls, including due to war crimes, sexual violence and other human rights violations.  Hundreds thousand of women and children have been deported to the areas controlled by the Russian federation through forced evacuation or abduction (with over 16,000 cases of forcible child abduction being investigated).

The purposeful destruction by the Russian federation of Ukraine’s electrical grid, civilian infrastructure and technology is severely compromising the access of Ukraine’s people, among them women and girls, to the education, technology and advances on which their future depends; it is compromising Ukraine’s progress on the sustainable development goals, and creating new challenges to gender equality and empowerment for women and girls. 

The invasion magnifies the misery of the millions of internally displaced from occupied and shelled areas, and creates insecurity for the waves of refugee women and girls seeking safety abroad.

Our diaspora network organization established in 1948 and growing as refugees spill across Ukraine’s borders, is grateful to those who have opened their hearts and arms to Ukrainian refugees.

We also anticipate the positive support that technologies and digital innovations can provide to newcomers to unfamiliar places. With the future portending waves of climate refugees, and with conflicts unabating, these digital innovations will be among the most useful in the decade to come. 

There are structural barriers to the full participation of women and girls that emerge especially when they are on the move – identification papers must be producible, educational and work credentials must be portable, re-training and employment attainable.  The experience of using technology to secure basic needs must be safe, free of threat of sexual or other types of personal exploitation.

Ukrainian women are in need of innovative technologies that will enhance learning, retraining, and  work opportunity, especially for the displaced. We are concerned about the domestic burden of women, also of older women and the challenges faced by women and girls in rural or remote areas.

We welcome the draft Agreed Conclusions. The perspectives and human rights of women and girls, including of internally displaced and refugees, have to be taken into account in armed conflict, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction. It is paramount that all forms of violence against women and girls are condemned, prevented and eliminated, and that the perpetrators are prosecuted and punished, to ensure accountability and peaceful, just and inclusive society.